I have some great news: my third collection of short stories is now ready, and waiting for my cover wizard friend, Alex Saskalides, to work his magic.
The title is Honest Fibs, since the stories are narrated as an exchange of tall tales between two fishermen.
To celebrate both the upcoming release and today’s appreciation of improbable tales here is one of the earliest examples (1528).
The strange tale of the Lucchese fur merchant
I found this story, first published by Castiglione in his Cortegiano (1528), in Authorama. It served as was the basis of one of the more popular of Baron Munchausen’s tales, The Horn.
A merchant of Lucca had traveled to Poland in order to buy furs. There was at that time a war with Muscovy, from which country the furs were procured, so the Lucchese merchant was directed to the confines of the two countries.
On reaching the Borysthenes, which divided Poland and Muscovy, he found that the Muscovite traders remained on their own side of the river from distrust, on account of the state of hostilities.
The Muscovites, desirous of being heard across the river announced the prices of their furs in a loud voice; but the cold was so intense that their words were frozen in the air before they could reach the opposite side.
Hereupon the Poles lighted a fire in the middle of the river, which was frozen into a solid mass; and in the course of an hour, the words which had been frozen up were melted, and fell gently upon the further bank.
The prices demanded were so high that the Lucchese merchant could not accept. It didn’t really matter, though, as the Muscovite traders had already gone away by then…
Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!
Fantastic news, Nicholas. Congratulations.
Ha Ha! Congratulations…:)
I add my congratulations from Vancouver Island, Canada.
Being new to your blog I have no idea who or what Meli is? So, may I ask:
How many Melis can dance on the head of a pin?
I expect your answer to be a fabulously honest fib.
Lol – welcome to Greece, my Canadian friend. As it’s getting close to midnight here, I’ll forego the traditional fib and let you know that Meli (Greek for Honey) is our honey-colored dog that has the sweetest disposition. When not chasing cats, that is…
Congrats on another book! Happy April 🙂
Thanks! You too 🙂
I had also forgotten what day it was, so thanks for the reminder. Days and months merge when you are old and stupid, and they have less relevance in the day to day routine. Have a great April, Nicholas.
Best wishes, Pete.
Lol – I don’t know about old, but stupid is the last thing that comes to mind when I think of you. “Gentleman” being the first.
Thanks, Nicholas. My use of ‘old and stupid’ was only an expression. I like to think I haven’t reached that stage just yet.
Lol – paint me literal 🙂
Ooooh can’t wait to see the cover art! It’ll have to be pretty darn fantastic to live up to the stories inside 🙂 Also, thanks for the April Fools reminder! Every year I forget, and get tricked by at least one thing, lol.
Aw, you! You’ll only have to wait another 2 days, then all shall be revealed 🙂
Congratulations! No foolin’!
Lol – thanks 🙂
Congrats on your new release. Happy April Fool’s Day!
Thanks! You too 🙂
Interesting story. I always wonder if there’s a moral in stuff written from so long ago. Doesn’t seem like it.
Just silly fun 🙂
Never heard of that story. It’s fantastic! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing.
Great news! Congrats! (It’s always fun to know Meli dances).
She’s the cutest when she does 🙂